Cover image for The majors : in pursuit of golf's Holy Grail
The majors : in pursuit of golf's Holy Grail
Feinstein, John.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
Boston : Little, Brown, [1999]

Physical Description:
472 pages : color illustrations ; 24 cm
General Note:
Includes index.
Subject Term:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
GV970 .F456 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
GV970 .F456 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
GV970 .F456 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
GV970 .F456 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
GV970 .F456 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
GV970 .F456 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf

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The four tournaments known as the majors - the Masters, the U.S. Open, the British Open, and the PGA Championship - are the absolute pinnacle of golf, competitions played at a level of pressure guaranteed to give even the greatest golfers the shakes. In The Majors, bestselling sportswriter John Feinstein accompanies a dozen top golfers as they play these tournaments, revealing what it is that makes them so demanding - and what it takes to win such exalted prizes. He takes us onto the courses and into the back rooms to show us how decisions are made on what players will be paired together and where the holes will be placed on different days - including the disastrous hole placement that caused such outrage at the U.S. Open. Most of all, The Majors shows us the greatest golfers of our time under the greatest pressure they ever experience - how Payne Stewart manages to sleep when he has the lead at the U.S. Open, how Mark O'Meara paces himself for a masterful Sunday, how John Daly deals with frustration and maintains his sobriety.

Author Notes

John Feinstein was born in New York City on July 28, 1956. He graduated from Duke University. He is a sportswriter, author, and sports commentator. He was on the staff at the Washington Post and wrote for Sports Illustrated. He is the author of several books including A Season on the Brink, Where Nobody Knows Your Name, A Good Walk Spoiled, and The Legends Club: Dean Smith, Mike Krzyzewski, Jim Valvano, and the Story of an Epic College Basketball Rivalry.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Most golf fans consider Feinstein's A Good Walk Spoiled (1995) to be near the pinnacle of golf literature. So what's he doing writing another golf book, and one that looks very much like its predecessor? Good Walk followed the PGA tour for one year, showing us both the inner and outer lives of the competitors as they marched from one tournament to another. This time Feinstein uses the same structure but confines his examination to the sport's four major tournaments: the Masters, the U.S. and British Opens, and the PGA Championship. Yes, the two books are alike, but golf fans won't care, both because the major tournaments really didn't get their due in the first book and because Feinstein once again displays his rare ability to drill down beneath the pars and birdies to reveal not only the personalities of the players but also the essence of an infinitely complex game. Each of the four sections of the book looks in depth at one of the 1998 majors, but the treatment only begins with that year's competition, as Feinstein layers in tournament history, background on the contending players, and analysis of the tournament's place in the game. Golf fans will be familiar with many of the issues--the lure of the green jacket; why the PGA doesn't get more respect--but Feinstein consistently adds texture to what we think we know about the game and its players. For the legions of golfers who schedule their spring and summer activities so as not to conflict with watching the majors, this is certain to be a much-treasured book. --Bill Ott

Publisher's Weekly Review

With this exemplary book, Feinstein continues to exploit a formula that has worked well for him in chronicling sports subjects from college basketball (A March to Madness) to the PGA Tour (A Good Walk Spoiled): spend a year with a subject and use the experience as a way not only to tell a good story but also to illuminate the greater culture surrounding the sport. Returning to golf, Feinstein tackles the sport's four major championships: the Masters, the U.S. Open, the British Open and the PGA, as they were played in 1998. He displays a singular skill in conveying what these preeminent tournaments mean to those who contest them, and in highlighting the sometimes deeply personal struggles of people so often seen only on the grand public stage. Feinstein attributes the majors' rise in stature over the past four decades to the rivalry between Arnold Palmer, golf's first television superstar, and the younger Jack Nicklaus. From their numerous memorable duels grew the obsessive culture of today, in which unquestionably great players are forever tainted if they fail to win one of the big four. Feinstein also covers the tournaments' stewards, rigorous qualifying requisites and hallowed traditions. While stopping short of significant controversy, he looks candidly at such subjects as golf's struggle to shed its white-bread image and the attempt to deny Casey Martin, a handicapped albeit skillful golfer, the right to use a cart on tour while other players are denied that luxury. Comprehensive and immensely enjoyable, Feinstein's latest will provide veteran golfers an appreciation of how the sport is played at its most exalted level, while giving even those whose only putts have come on AstroTurf an understanding of what all the fuss is about. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Feinstein first went behind the scenes of professional golf in A Good Walk Spoiled (LJ 5/15/95), his best-selling account of a year on the Professional Golf Association (PGA) tour. In The Majors, he returns to the fairways and roughs of big-time golf, this time focusing on the games major championships. As in A Good Walk Spoiled, Feinsteins close-up portraits of the greats and near-greats as they compete in the Masters, the U.S. Open, the British Open, and the PGA Championship are what make this account so absorbing. Along with penetrating profiles of the key playersDaley, Montgomery, Leonard, WoodsFeinstein also spotlights the lesser-known contenders, for whom victory in a major would be a career breakthrough. Feinstein once again manages to get inside the head of the competitor and depict the athlete as a multidimensional human being. He also includes the history of how each tournament became the prominent event it is today. Recommended for all public libraries. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 12/98.]Peter Ward, Lindenhurst Memorial Lib., NY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.